Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Taking back the neighborhood

There is a story coming out of Chicago where an older lady shot a 12-yr old boy. The boy is charged with a crime while the lady is not! Evidently, he had been the leader of a small troop of boys that bullied and harassed many homeowners in the area. This lady had been specifically singled out for special torment, however. In any case, lots of bricks through windows and setting fires on peoples' property. Well she fought back! Here's to you, Margaret Matthews.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Keeping Promises - or not making them to begin with

On our recent vacation to South Dakota, we stopped at a National Park - the MinuteMan Missle Park in Philip, SD. This was something that I wanted to see. Having expressed that, Amy made sure that we stopped. Where we stopped, there wasn't much to see. They did have a video about the Cold war, and the role that the MM Missle 2 played in it. While I was talking with one of the Park Rangers, Butch Davis (pictured here), Anjali was filling out a packet of info/games to be an "Junior Park Ranger". The rest of the family was done while I continued to talk to Butch.

In about 10 minutes, Anjali appears at the door with what appeared to be tears in her eyes. The adults started to swoon. Evidently, she had read the packet of info more closely, after she signed her name. Her signature said that she pledged to make all her decisions with the best in mind for the Earth. Now, she was only interested in the patch that came with "Junior Park Ranger". So now, as she thought through it all, she felt trapped. She wanted to get out of her pledge. The other Park Rangers (obviously wanting more human contact than they appeared to be getting that day) were quick to console her and tell her that the pledge didn't really mean all that. After some hugs, all was right with the world again, and Anjali went back to join Amy and Mark (as I continued to talk with Butch).

I was very proud of her for her honesty - and for her willingness to admit a mistake - and for her brokenness in a trap for which she was not prepared. Then she made it right!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Race Makeup in Twin Cities

(click here for larger picture)

Eric Fischer has created lots and lots of maps of cities and represented the people living therein by dots. One dot equals 25 people. The racial makeup of the people are represented by different colors. There are maps of other large cities in the US here (and they tend to be much more dramatic). Maybe they are instructive, but as I look at Mpls-St.Paul, I see mostly red. That means there are mostly white people in the area. The pockets of non-red are in North Minneapolis, the 35W corridor in South Minneapolis (I see my red dot mixed in there), and the 94 corridor in St. Paul.

(Thankfully, there are no dots in Lake Calhoun - especially during winter!)

(screenshot grabbed from here)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Approve This Message

Negative ONE

Bono, the U2 singer, in recent years has spearheaded a campaign to alleviate World Poverty. "Yes!" methinks. World Poverty needs some alleviating.

However, his organization has gone about fundraising in a different sort of way. He wanted the governments of rich nations to commit and give ONE percent of its budget to his organization to show that they care about starving children around the world. This is a sneaky way of fundraising - going to the top of the budget pyramid and asking there for donations while the millions at the bottom of the pyramid would supply the money. While this is might seem a simpler way to raise funds than to ask individuals it causes an unhealthy separation between the askers and the eventual givers.

Come to find out that Bono's program, titled ONE to match with its fundraising strategy, only contributed ONE POINT TWO PERCENT of its receipts to alleviate World Poverty. More than HALF of its receipts went to paying salaries!!!

... now my wounded sense of charity needs alleviating.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Clone This Guy!

I'm sad that we're losing Pawlenty as MN Governer. Maybe we can borrow this guy for awhile.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Soul of Hip Hop (Part 1)

Adler's Rule 1: Classify the book according to kind and subject matter.

The Soul of Hip Hop is non-fiction. It is a book that focuses on culture, so it falls into the category of Social Sciences. The author wrote the book to explore and explain the Hip Hop culture - specifically as it relates to spirituality and theology. We shall see if it is more "explaining" (this is the way it is) or "persuasive" (this view is the best view to take - opposed to these other views).

Monday, September 6, 2010

How to Read a Book

According to Mortimer Adler, (if you've heard his name before, it's probably in association with the Great Books list), reading a book well can be done when one follows the following rules:

  1. Classify the book according to kind and subject matter.
  2. State what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity.
  3. Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole.
  4. Define the problem or problems the author is trying to solve.
  5. Come to terms with the author by interpreting his key words.
  6. Grasp the author's leading propositions by dealing with his most important sentences.
  7. Know the author's arguments, by finding them in, or constructing them out of, sequences of sentences.
  8. Determine which of his problems the author has solved, and which he has not; and as to the latter, decide which the author knew he had failed to solve.
  9. You must be able to say, with reasonable certainty, "I understand," before you can say any one of the following things: "I agree," or "I disagree," or "I suspend judgment."
  10. When you disagree, do so reasonably, and not disputatiously or contentiously.
  11. Demonstrate that you recognize the difference between knowledge and mere personal opinion by presenting good reasons for any critical judgment you make. p.164-165
(There are 4 more rules that deal with special criteria for points of criticism. They are "Show where the author is ... uninformed, misinformed, illogical, or incomplete in analysis".)

I'm hoping to use my blog to map my reading through my brother-in-law's book. Seems daunting.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Words

I was given a book recently by my brother-in-law. I intend on reading it very carefully because I'm not familiar with the subject matter. However, I'm out of practice. So I'm going through a book that I read for Hermeneutics class, back in 1991. It's called, "How to Read a Book". I'm reminded of the value of understanding the meaning of the words used. Adler calls it "coming to terms", but really it is the reader's investigation into the author's words and phrases to determine their meanings and how they are used to convey information. This would be done only for the important terms (to save time).

Given my interest in words, I was pleased to reread some very insightful stuff from Adler:

... a word can have many meanings, especially an important word. If the author uses a word in one meaning, and reader reads it in another, words have passed between them, but they have not come to terms. Where there is unresolved ambiguity in communication, there is no communication, or at best communication must be incomplete. p.96
Though Humpty Dumpty would not approve, we can see this as very sensical. If our goal is clear communication.

When an author writes something down, it is up to the reader to make sense of it. This is work. However, this work will be especially difficult if the author has not been careful with her words. This laxity would make the reader's work nearly impossible. But with the assumption of the good faith and effort of the author, the burden of understanding falls on the reader - to figure out the meanings of the words and use those meanings when reading.

If I ever become a writer - maybe I should take up blogging, less time consuming - I want to give my readers clues to what my important words and phrases mean.

Anyway, on with the book...

I see a future in this . . .

VW is working on a new car - a very slight car. Strangely, it is both inexpensive and economical at the same time. It will move people (a person) without much room for groceries, and it will be easy to park. Supposedly, it's very safe.

It will be initially sold in China for the equivalent of $600! It will get over 250 mpg!

Let the future come.

More here.

More pictures here.

(image from